Nepal

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6 – 25 April 2018

We arrived in Kathmandu at about 9pm on 6 April. We travelled with a good friend of ours, Shane and his friend Alan (who we now call a good friend after such an adventure). I was interested to see how Kathmandu had changed, I had previously travelled there to complete the Annapurna Sanctuary trek 12 years prior. It was pretty much the same except a bit busier and definitely more polluted. But I still loved the rooftop bars/restaurants and all the trekking shops (you can buy most of your gear there if you wanted) as well as the chaos, the noise and the smells. And of course the sanctuary that is the Kathmandu Guest House when you need it. I definitely recommend staying there or popping in for a beer or Nepalese tea.

After a few days sightseeing, we met our group (the 4 of us plus 2 young Aussie guys, Trent and Eamon). We were to meet the following morning (10 April) at 5am for our much anticipated flight to Lukla. It wasn’t as crazy as expected and we arrived in time for breakfast before starting our trek.

Our route was Lukla, Phakding, Namche Bazaar (2 nights, with acclimatisation walk to Everest View Hotel), Deboche, Dingboche (2 nights with acclimatisation walk), Lobuche, Gorekshep (which included the walk to Basecamp), Pengboche, Namche Bazaar then Lukla. So 11 days walking all up. Too much to capture in words, but I have managed to capture a few memories as well as reflections of our time there. For any gear tips, check out our ‘Gear Tips‘ page.

EBC trek 10-21 April 2018

  • Day after day of snow-capped mountains and moonscape scenery, out of this world! We saw Everest most days which was amazing, but our favourite mountain was Ama Dablam. It was in our sights every day and it was an awe inspiring sight. 

  • Afternoons relaxing in teahouses, chatting and reading*. Our favourite teahouses were in Namche Bazaar and Dingboche. 

  • Mint and ginger tea…love it*.
  • Too much mint and ginger tea!
  • Laughs and a few tears with good friends.
  • Our guides, Phurba and Dorji and our porters were awesome, such lovely people (as are all the Nepalese). So humble, friendly and welcoming.
  • Food and facilities were better than expected, although I was craving a toasted cheese sandwich after many days of dahl baht, fried rice and fried potatoes & veggies.
  • Getting my hair washed and dried in a hair salon in Namche Bazaar*. I was so excited after 10 days of trekking. I don’t think the guys understood how excited I was!
  • The smell of kerosene fires in the teahouses.
  • Knowing my brother Graeme had completed the same trek a year ago and was able to share a few moments along the way*.
  • Eishhh it was cold. I am not referring to while you are hiking, or even when you are sleeping. It was more when you are relaxing in the evenings in the teahouses. I don’t think I needed anything warmer to wear but next time maybe something warmer for my feet. Perhaps the down booties are not such a bad idea after all!
  • Altitude above 5000m, this is a challenge ( I found it to be anyway). We were all fine up until 5000m. It then hit me as we approached Gorekshep and Basecamp, and it’s not great. But, we all made it and arrived at Basecamp at approx 2pm on 17 April…and I am sure we would all do it again. The reward of being surrounded by some of the highest peaks in the world surpasses all that! I think the next trip to Nepal will be Gokyo Lakes. 

After getting back to Kathmandu our first stop was Himalayan Java (a great cafe) for a coffee and a toasted cheese sandwich*. We spent a few days chilling out/recovering at Kathmandu Guest House before our next chapter.

We sadly said goodbye to Shane and Alan in Singapore airport as we were heading on to Paris and they were heading home.

A few reflections of our time in Nepal.

  • Each day we saw hundreds of porters carrying very heavy loads over long distances. I can only imagine how hard that must be for them and I wonder if they would need to be doing this if the area was not swamped with foreigners trying to get a taste of their mountains. But…then they also wouldn’t have these jobs which would cause other problems. It’s a tricky one but something to reflect on. It makes you think about your use of porters and how you could make sure you limit their burden if you need to use them. Another related issue is the work of the Sherpas. I know there is some debate especially around climbing Sherpas, but I need to understand more about both of these issues before being able to comment with any level of insight. 

  • I love the way of life of the people of Nepal. They are so humble, content and happy. This shines through in their day to day life and is understood through their Buddhist and Hindu religions. It was interesting seeing the Mani stones and seeing the importance the ‘Om mani padme hum mantra‘ means. I have heard this mantra a lot in yoga class but it was interesting seeing this spoken and sung so much. In asking my guide what it means he explained it is a way of life and there are many books written on this…so too hard to explain it simply. I guess I have a lot of reading to do. 

  • When going on a trip like this, as always, I start to appreciate the small things. I love this. Turning up to a cozy teahouse with a warm fire, a clean toilet, a warm shower after days of walking, simple but tasty food and of course a cup of tea. I love these things and love to be reminded of their importance to feeling a sense of being ‘home’*.

* Finding Wilson

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” 

Dalai Lama

 

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